Open Science Research Excellence

Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 218

A Visual Analytics Tool for the Structural Health Monitoring of an Aircraft Panel

Aerospace, mechanical, and civil engineering infrastructures can take advantages from damage detection and identification strategies in terms of maintenance cost reduction and operational life improvements, as well for safety scopes. The challenge is to detect so called “barely visible impact damage” (BVID), due to low/medium energy impacts, that can progressively compromise the structure integrity. The occurrence of any local change in material properties, that can degrade the structure performance, is to be monitored using so called Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) systems, in charge of comparing the structure states before and after damage occurs. SHM seeks for any "anomalous" response collected by means of sensor networks and then analyzed using appropriate algorithms. Independently of the specific analysis approach adopted for structural damage detection and localization, textual reports, tables and graphs describing possible outlier coordinates and damage severity are usually provided as artifacts to be elaborated for information extraction about the current health conditions of the structure under investigation. Visual Analytics can support the processing of monitored measurements offering data navigation and exploration tools leveraging the native human capabilities of understanding images faster than texts and tables. Herein, a SHM system enrichment by integration of a Visual Analytics component is investigated. Analytical dashboards have been created by combining worksheets, so that a useful Visual Analytics tool is provided to structural analysts for exploring the structure health conditions examined by a Principal Component Analysis based algorithm.

A Low-Cost Air Quality Monitoring Internet of Things Platform
In the present paper, a low cost, compact and modular Internet of Things (IoT) platform for air quality monitoring in urban areas is presented. This platform comprises of dedicated low cost, low power hardware and the associated embedded software that enable measurement of particles (PM2.5 and PM10), NO, CO, CO2 and O3 concentration in the air, along with relative temperature and humidity. This integrated platform acts as part of a greater air pollution data collecting wireless network that is able to monitor the air quality in various regions and neighborhoods of an urban area, by providing sensor measurements at a high rate that reaches up to one sample per second. It is therefore suitable for Big Data analysis applications such as air quality forecasts, weather forecasts and traffic prediction. The first real world test for the developed platform took place in Thessaloniki, Greece, where 16 devices were installed in various buildings in the city. In the near future, many more of these devices are going to be installed in the greater Thessaloniki area, giving a detailed air quality map of the city.
Modelling for Roof Failure Analysis in an Underground Cave

Roof collapse is one of the problems with a higher frequency in most of the mines of all countries, even now. There are many reasons that may cause the roof to collapse, namely the mine stress activities in the mining process, the lack of vigilance and carelessness or the complexity of the geological structure and irregular operations. This work is the result of the analysis of one accident produced in the “Mary” coal exploitation located in northern Spain. In this accident, the roof of a crossroad of excavated galleries to exploit the “Morena” Layer, 700 m deep, collapsed. In the paper, the work done by the forensic team to determine the causes of the incident, its conclusions and recommendations are collected. Initially, the available documentation (geology, geotechnics, mining, etc.) and accident area were reviewed. After that, laboratory and on-site tests were carried out to characterize the behaviour of the rock materials and the support used (metal frames and shotcrete). With this information, different hypotheses of failure were simulated to find the one that best fits reality. For this work, the software of finite differences in three dimensions, FLAC 3D, was employed. The results of the study confirmed that the detachment was originated as a consequence of one sliding in the layer wall, due to the large roof span present in the place of the accident, and probably triggered as a consequence of the existence of a protection pillar insufficient. The results allowed to establish some corrective measures avoiding future risks. For example, the dimensions of the protection zones that must be remained unexploited and their interaction with the crossing areas between galleries, or the use of more adequate supports for these conditions, in which the significant deformations may discourage the use of rigid supports such as shotcrete. At last, a grid of seismic control was proposed as a predictive system. Its efficiency was tested along the investigation period employing three control equipment that detected new incidents (although smaller) in other similar areas of the mine. These new incidents show that the use of explosives produces vibrations which are a new risk factor to analyse in a next future.

Low Cost Microcontroller Based ECG Machine

Electrocardiographic (ECG) machine is an important equipment to diagnose heart problems. Besides, the ECG signals are used to detect many other features of human body and behavior. But it is not so cheap and simple in operation to be used in the countries like Bangladesh, where most of the people are very low income earners. Therefore, in this paper, we have tried to implement a simple and portable ECG machine. Since Arduino Uno microcontroller is very cheap, we have used it in our system to minimize the cost. Our designed system is powered by a 2-voltage level DC power supply. It provides wireless connectivity to have ECG data either in smartphone having android operating system or a PC/laptop having Windows operating system. To get the data, a graphic user interface has been designed. Android application has also been made using IDE for Android 2.3 and API 10. Since it requires no USB host API, almost 98% Android smartphones, available in the country, will be able to use it. We have calculated the heart rate from the measured ECG by our designed machine and by an ECG machine of a reputed diagnostic center in Dhaka city for the same people at the same time on same day. Then we calculated the percentage of errors between the readings of two machines and computed its average. From this computation, we have found out that the average percentage of error is within an acceptable limit.

Practical Techniques of Improving State Estimator Solution

State Estimator became an intrinsic part of Energy Management Systems (EMS). The SCADA measurements received from the field are processed by the State Estimator in order to accurately determine the actual operating state of the power systems and provide that information to other real-time network applications. All EMS vendors offer a State Estimator functionality in their baseline products. However, setting up and ensuring that State Estimator consistently produces a reliable solution often consumes a substantial engineering effort. This paper provides generic recommendations and describes a simple practical approach to efficient tuning of State Estimator, based on the working experience with major EMS software platforms and consulting projects in many electrical utilities of the USA.

Laser Welding of Titanium Alloy Ti64 to Polyamide 6.6: Effects of Welding Parameters on Temperature Profile Evolution

Composite metal–polymer materials, in particular titanium alloy (Ti-6Al-4V) to polyamide (PA6.6), fabricated by laser joining, have gained cogent interest among industries and researchers concerned with aerospace and biomedical applications. This work adopts infrared (IR) thermography technique to investigate effects of laser parameters used in the welding process on the three-dimensional temperature profile at the rear-side of titanium, at the region to be welded with polyamide. Cross sectional analysis of welded joints showed correlations between the morphology of titanium and polyamide at the weld zone with the corresponding temperature profile. In particular, spatial temperature profile was found to be correlated with the laser beam energy density, titanium molten pool width and depth, and polyamide heat affected zone depth.

Remote Monitoring and Control System of Potentiostat Based on the Internet of Things

Constant potometer is an important component of pipeline anti-corrosion systems in the chemical industry. Based on Internet of Things (IoT) technology, Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) technology and database technology, this paper developed a set of a constant potometer remote monitoring management system. The remote monitoring and remote adjustment of the working status of the constant potometer are realized. The system has real-time data display, historical data query, alarm push management, user permission management, and supporting Web access and mobile client application (APP) access. The actual engineering project test results show the stability of the system, which can be widely used in cathodic protection systems.

The Application of Distributed Optical Strain Sensing to Measure Rock Bolt Deformation Subject to Bedding Shear

Shear displacement along bedding defects is a well-recognised behaviour when tunnelling and mining in stratified rock. This deformation can affect the durability and integrity of installed rock bolts. In-situ monitoring of rock bolt deformation under bedding shear cannot be accurately derived from traditional strain gauge bolts as sensors are too large and spaced too far apart to accurately assess concentrated displacement along discrete defects. A possible solution to this is the use of fiber optic technologies developed for precision monitoring. Distributed Optic Sensor (DOS) embedded rock bolts were installed in a tunnel project with the aim of measuring the bolt deformation profile under significant shear displacements. This technology successfully measured the 3D strain distribution along the bolts when subjected to bedding shear and resolved the axial and lateral strain constituents in order to determine the deformational geometry of the bolts. The results are compared well with the current visual method for monitoring shear displacement using borescope holes, considering this method as suitable.

Monitoring Blood Pressure Using Regression Techniques

Blood pressure helps the physicians greatly to have a deep insight into the cardiovascular system. The determination of individual blood pressure is a standard clinical procedure considered for cardiovascular system problems. The conventional techniques to measure blood pressure (e.g. cuff method) allows a limited number of readings for a certain period (e.g. every 5-10 minutes). Additionally, these systems cause turbulence to blood flow; impeding continuous blood pressure monitoring, especially in emergency cases or critically ill persons. In this paper, the most important statistical features in the photoplethysmogram (PPG) signals were extracted to estimate the blood pressure noninvasively. PPG signals from more than 40 subjects were measured and analyzed and 12 features were extracted. The features were fed to principal component analysis (PCA) to find the most important independent features that have the highest correlation with blood pressure. The results show that the stiffness index means and standard deviation for the beat-to-beat heart rate were the most important features. A model representing both features for Systolic Blood Pressure (SBP) and Diastolic Blood Pressure (DBP) was obtained using a statistical regression technique. Surface fitting is used to best fit the series of data and the results show that the error value in estimating the SBP is 4.95% and in estimating the DBP is 3.99%.

Low-Cost Monitoring System for Hydroponic Urban Vertical Farms

This paper presents the development of a low-cost monitoring system for a hydroponic urban vertical farm, enabling its automation and a quantitative assessment of the farm performance. Urban farming has seen increasing interest in the last decade thanks to the development of energy efficient and affordable LED lights; however, the optimal configuration of such systems (i.e. amount of nutrients, light-on time, ambient temperature etc.) is mostly based on the farmers’ experience and empirical guidelines. Moreover, even if simple, the maintenance of such systems is labor intensive as it requires water to be topped-up periodically, mixing of the nutrients etc. To unlock the full potential of urban farming, a quantitative understanding of the role that each variable plays in the growth of the plants is needed, together with a higher degree of automation. The low-cost monitoring system proposed in this paper is a step toward filling this knowledge and technological gap, as it enables collection of sensor data related to water and air temperature, water level, humidity, pressure, light intensity, pH and electric conductivity without requiring any human intervention. More sensors and actuators can also easily be added thanks to the modular design of the proposed platform. Data can be accessed remotely via a simple web interface. The proposed platform can be used both for quantitatively optimizing the setup of the farms and for automating some of the most labor-intensive maintenance activities. Moreover, such monitoring system can also potentially be used for high-level decision making, once enough data are collected.

Internet of Health Things as a Win-Win Solution for Mitigating the Paradigm Shift inside Senior Patient-Physician Shared Health Management
Internet of Health Things (IoHT) has already proved to be a persuasive means to support a proper assessment of the living conditions by collecting a huge variety of data. For a customized health management of a senior patient, IoHT provides the capacity to build a dynamic solution for sustaining the shift inside the patient-physician relationship by allowing a real-time and continuous remote monitoring of the health status, well-being, safety and activities of the senior, especially in a non-clinical environment. Thus, is created a win-win solution in which both the patient and the physician enhance their involvement and shared decision-making, with significant outcomes. Health monitoring systems in smart environments are becoming a viable alternative to traditional healthcare solutions. The ongoing “Non-invasive monitoring and health assessment of the elderly in a smart environment (RO-SmartAgeing)” project aims to demonstrate that the existence of complete and accurate information is critical for assessing the health condition of the seniors, improving wellbeing and quality of life in relation to health. The researches performed inside the project aim to highlight how the management of IoHT devices connected to the RO-SmartAgeing platform in a secure way by using a role-based access control system, can allow the physicians to provide health services at a high level of efficiency and accessibility, which were previously only available in hospitals. The project aims to identify deficient aspects in the provision of health services tailored to a senior patient’s specificity and to offer a more comprehensive perspective of proactive and preventive medical acts.
Application of Transform Fourier for Dynamic Control of Structures with Global Positioning System

Given the evolution of viaducts, structural health monitoring requires more complex techniques to define their state. two alternatives can be distinguished: experimental and operational modal analysis. Although accelerometers or Global Positioning System (GPS) have been applied for the monitoring of structures under exploitation, the dynamic monitoring during the stage of construction is not common. This research analyzes whether GPS data can be applied to certain dynamic geometric controls of evolving structures. The fundamentals of this work were applied to the New Bridge of Cádiz (Spain), a worldwide milestone in bridge building. GPS data were recorded with an interval of 1 second during the erection of segments and turned to the frequency domain with Fourier transform. The vibration period and amplitude were contrasted with those provided by the finite element model, with differences of less than 10%, which is admissible. This process provides a vibration record of the structure with GPS, avoiding specific equipment.

Settlement Analysis of Axially Loaded Bored Piles: A Case History

Pile load tests should be applied to check the bearing capacity calculations and to determine the settlement of the pile corresponding to test load. Strain gauges can be installed into pile in order to determine the shaft resistance of the piles for every soil layer respectively. Detailed results can be obtained by means of strain gauges placed at certain levels into test piles. In the scope of this study, pile load test data obtained from two different projects are examined.  Instrumented static pile load tests were applied on totally 7 test bored piles of different diameters (80 cm, 150 cm, and 200 cm) and different lengths (between 30-76 m) in two different project site. Settlement analysis of test piles is done by using some of load transfer methods and finite element method. Plaxis 3D which is a three-dimensional finite element program is also used for settlement analysis of the test piles. In this study, firstly bearing capacity of test piles are determined and compared with strain gauge data which is required for settlement analysis. Then, settlement values of the test piles are estimated by using load transfer methods developed in recent years and finite element method. The aim of this study is to show similarities and differences between the results obtained from settlement analysis methods and instrumented pile load tests.

Estimation of Geotechnical Parameters by Comparing Monitoring Data with Numerical Results: Case Study of Arash–Esfandiar-Niayesh Under-Passing Tunnel, Africa Tunnel, Tehran, Iran

The under passing tunnels are strongly influenced by the soils around. There are some complexities in the specification of real soil behavior, owing to the fact that lots of uncertainties exist in soil properties, and additionally, inappropriate soil constitutive models. Such mentioned factors may cause incompatible settlements in numerical analysis with the obtained values in actual construction. This paper aims to report a case study on a specific tunnel constructed by NATM. The tunnel has a depth of 11.4 m, height of 12.2 m, and width of 14.4 m with 2.5 lanes. The numerical modeling was based on a 2D finite element program. The soil material behavior was modeled by hardening soil model. According to the field observations, the numerical estimated settlement at the ground surface was approximately four times more than the measured one, after the entire installation of the initial lining, indicating that some unknown factors affect the values. Consequently, the geotechnical parameters are accurately revised by a numerical back-analysis using laboratory and field test data and based on the obtained monitoring data. The obtained result confirms that typically, the soil parameters are conservatively low-estimated. And additionally, the constitutive models cannot be applied properly for all soil conditions.

High-Frequency Monitoring Results of a Piled Raft Foundation under Wind Loading

Piled raft foundations represent an efficient and reliable technique for transferring high vertical and horizontal loads to the subsoil. Piled raft foundations were success­fully implemented for several high-rise buildings world­wide over the last decades. For the structural design of this foundation type the stiffnesses of both the piles and the raft have to be deter­mined for the static (e.g. dead load, live load) and the dynamic load cases (e.g. earthquake). In this context the question often arises, to which proportion wind loads are to be considered as dynamic loads. Usually a piled raft foundation has to be monitored in order to verify the design hypotheses. As an additional benefit, the analysis of this monitoring data may lead to a better under­standing of the behaviour of this foundation type for future projects in similar subsoil conditions. In case the measurement frequency is high enough, one may also draw conclusions on the effect of wind loading on the piled raft foundation. For a 41-storey office building in Basel, Switzerland, the preliminary design showed that a piled raft foundation was the best solution to satisfy both design requirements, as well as economic aspects. A high-frequency monitoring of the foundation including pile loads, vertical stresses under the raft, as well as pore water pressures was performed over 5 years. In windy situations the analysis of the measure­ments shows that the pile load increment due to wind consists of a static and a cyclic load term. As piles and raft react with different stiffnesses under static and dynamic loading, these measure­ments are useful for the correct definition of stiffnesses of future piled raft foundations. This paper outlines the design strategy and the numerical modelling of the aforementioned piled raft foundation. The measurement results are presented and analysed. Based on the findings, comments and conclusions on the definition of pile and raft stiffnesses for vertical and wind loading are proposed.

Fault Detection and Diagnosis of Broken Bar Problem in Induction Motors Base Wavelet Analysis and EMD Method: Case Study of Mobarakeh Steel Company in Iran

Nowadays, induction motors have a significant role in industries. Condition monitoring (CM) of this equipment has gained a remarkable importance during recent years due to huge production losses, substantial imposed costs and increases in vulnerability, risk, and uncertainty levels. Motor current signature analysis (MCSA) is one of the most important techniques in CM. This method can be used for rotor broken bars detection. Signal processing methods such as Fast Fourier transformation (FFT), Wavelet transformation and Empirical Mode Decomposition (EMD) are used for analyzing MCSA output data. In this study, these signal processing methods are used for broken bar problem detection of Mobarakeh steel company induction motors. Based on wavelet transformation method, an index for fault detection, CF, is introduced which is the variation of maximum to the mean of wavelet transformation coefficients. We find that, in the broken bar condition, the amount of CF factor is greater than the healthy condition. Based on EMD method, the energy of intrinsic mode functions (IMF) is calculated and finds that when motor bars become broken the energy of IMFs increases.

Spatial Distribution of Ambient BTEX Concentrations at an International Airport in South Africa

Air travel, and the use of airports, has experienced proliferative growth in the past few decades, resulting in the concomitant release of air pollutants. Air pollution needs to be monitored because of the known relationship between exposure to air pollutants and increased adverse effects on human health. This study monitored a group of volatile organic compounds (VOCs); specifically BTEX (viz. benzene, toluene, ethyl-benzene and xylenes), as many are detrimental to human health. Through the use of passive sampling methods, the spatial variability of BTEX within an international airport was investigated, in order to determine ‘hotspots’ where occupational exposure to BTEX may be intensified. The passive sampling campaign revealed BTEXtotal concentrations ranged between 12.95–124.04 µg m-3. Furthermore, BTEX concentrations were dispersed heterogeneously within the airport. Due to the slow wind speeds recorded (1.13 m.s-1); the hotspots were located close to their main BTEX sources. The main hotspot was located over the main apron of the airport. Employees working in this area may be chronically exposed to these emissions, which could be potentially detrimental to their health.

Data Recording for Remote Monitoring of Autonomous Vehicles

Autonomous vehicles offer the possibility of significant benefits to social welfare. However, fully automated cars might not be going to happen in the near further. To speed the adoption of the self-driving technologies, many governments worldwide are passing laws requiring data recorders for the testing of autonomous vehicles. Currently, the self-driving vehicle, (e.g., shuttle bus) has to be monitored from a remote control center. When an autonomous vehicle encounters an unexpected driving environment, such as road construction or an obstruction, it should request assistance from a remote operator. Nevertheless, large amounts of data, including images, radar and lidar data, etc., have to be transmitted from the vehicle to the remote center. Therefore, this paper proposes a data compression method of in-vehicle networks for remote monitoring of autonomous vehicles. Firstly, the time-series data are rearranged into a multi-dimensional signal space. Upon the arrival, for controller area networks (CAN), the new data are mapped onto a time-data two-dimensional space associated with the specific CAN identity. Secondly, the data are sampled based on differential sampling. Finally, the whole set of data are encoded using existing algorithms such as Huffman, arithmetic and codebook encoding methods. To evaluate system performance, the proposed method was deployed on an in-house built autonomous vehicle. The testing results show that the amount of data can be reduced as much as 1/7 compared to the raw data.

An Intelligent Nondestructive Testing System of Ultrasonic Infrared Thermal Imaging Based on Embedded Linux
Ultrasonic infrared nondestructive testing is a kind of testing method with high speed, accuracy and localization. However, there are still some problems, such as the detection requires manual real-time field judgment, the methods of result storage and viewing are still primitive. An intelligent non-destructive detection system based on embedded linux is put forward in this paper. The hardware part of the detection system is based on the ARM (Advanced Reduced Instruction Set Computer Machine) core and an embedded linux system is built to realize image processing and defect detection of thermal images. The CLAHE algorithm and the Butterworth filter are used to process the thermal image, and then the boa server and CGI (Common Gateway Interface) technology are used to transmit the test results to the display terminal through the network for real-time monitoring and remote monitoring. The system also liberates labor and eliminates the obstacle of manual judgment. According to the experiment result, the system provides a convenient and quick solution for industrial non-destructive testing.
A Real Time Ultra-Wideband Location System for Smart Healthcare
Driven by the demand of intelligent monitoring in rehabilitation centers or hospitals, a high accuracy real-time location system based on UWB (ultra-wideband) technology was proposed. The system measures precise location of a specific person, traces his movement and visualizes his trajectory on the screen for doctors or administrators. Therefore, doctors could view the position of the patient at any time and find them immediately and exactly when something emergent happens. In our design process, different algorithms were discussed, and their errors were analyzed. In addition, we discussed about a , simple but effective way of correcting the antenna delay error, which turned out to be effective. By choosing the best algorithm and correcting errors with corresponding methods, the system attained a good accuracy. Experiments indicated that the ranging error of the system is lower than 7 cm, the locating error is lower than 20 cm, and the refresh rate exceeds 5 times per second. In future works, by embedding the system in wearable IoT (Internet of Things) devices, it could provide not only physical parameters, but also the activity status of the patient, which would help doctors a lot in performing healthcare.
A Procedure for Post-Earthquake Damage Estimation Based on Detection of High-Frequency Transients
In the current research structural health monitoring is considered for addressing the critical issue of post-earthquake damage detection. A non-standard approach for damage detection via acoustic emission is presented - acoustic emissions are monitored in the low frequency range (up to 120 Hz). Such emissions are termed high-frequency transients. Further a damage indicator defined as the Time-Ratio Damage Indicator is introduced. The indicator relies on time-instance measurements of damage initiation and deformation peaks. Based on the time-instance measurements a procedure for estimation of the maximum drift ratio is proposed. Monitoring data is used from a shaking-table test of a full-scale reinforced concrete bridge pier. Damage of the experimental column is successfully detected and the proposed damage indicator is calculated.
Comparing Field Displacement History with Numerical Results to Estimate Geotechnical Parameters: Case Study of Arash-Esfandiar-Niayesh under Passing Tunnel, 2.5 Traffic Lane Tunnel, Tehran, Iran

Underground structures are of those structures that have uncertainty in design procedures. That is due to the complexity of soil condition around. Under passing tunnels are also such affected structures. Despite geotechnical site investigations, lots of uncertainties exist in soil properties due to unknown events. As results, it possibly causes conflicting settlements in numerical analysis with recorded values in the project. This paper aims to report a case study on a specific under passing tunnel constructed by New Austrian Tunnelling Method in Iran. The intended tunnel has an overburden of about 11.3m, the height of 12.2m and, the width of 14.4m with 2.5 traffic lane. The numerical modeling was developed by a 2D finite element program (PLAXIS Version 8). Comparing displacement histories at the ground surface during the entire installation of initial lining, the estimated surface settlement was about four times the field recorded one, which indicates that some local unknown events affect that value. Also, the displacement ratios were in a big difference between the numerical and field data. Consequently, running several numerical back analyses using laboratory and field tests data, the geotechnical parameters were accurately revised to match with the obtained monitoring data. Finally, it was found that usually the values of soil parameters are conservatively low-estimated up to 40 percent by typical engineering judgment. Additionally, it could be attributed to inappropriate constitutive models applied for the specific soil condition.

Improved Blood Glucose-Insulin Monitoring with Dual-Layer Predictive Control Design

In response to widely used wearable medical devices equipped with a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and insulin pump, the advanced control methods are still demanding to get the full benefit of these devices. Unlike costly clinical trials, implementing effective insulin-glucose control strategies can provide significant contributions to the patients suffering from chronic diseases such as diabetes. This study deals with a key role of two-layer insulin-glucose regulator based on model-predictive-control (MPC) scheme so that the patient’s predicted glucose profile is in compliance with the insulin level injected through insulin pump automatically. It is achieved by iterative optimization algorithm which is called an integrated perturbation analysis and sequential quadratic programming (IPA-SQP) solver for handling uncertainties due to unexpected variations in glucose-insulin values and body’s characteristics. The feasibility evaluation of the discussed control approach is also studied by means of numerical simulations of two case scenarios via measured data. The obtained results are presented to verify the superior and reliable performance of the proposed control scheme with no negative impact on patient safety.

Participation in IAEA Proficiency Test to Analyse Cobalt, Strontium and Caesium in Seawater Using Direct Counting and Radiochemical Techniques

Radiation monitoring in the environment and foodstuffs is one of the main responsibilities of Office of Atoms for Peace (OAP) as the nuclear regulatory body of Thailand. The main goal of the OAP is to assure the safety of the Thai people and environment from any radiological incidents. Various radioanalytical methods have been developed to monitor radiation and radionuclides in the environmental and foodstuff samples. To validate our analytical performance, several proficiency test exercises from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have been performed. Here, the results of a proficiency test exercise referred to as the Proficiency Test for Tritium, Cobalt, Strontium and Caesium Isotopes in Seawater 2017 (IAEA-RML-2017-01) are presented. All radionuclides excepting ³H were analysed using various radioanalytical methods, i.e. direct gamma-ray counting for determining ⁶⁰Co, ¹³⁴Cs and ¹³⁷Cs and developed radiochemical techniques for analysing ¹³⁴Cs, ¹³⁷Cs using AMP pre-concentration technique and 90Sr using di-(2-ethylhexyl) phosphoric acid (HDEHP) liquid extraction technique. The analysis results were submitted to IAEA. All results passed IAEA criteria, i.e. accuracy, precision and trueness and obtained ‘Accepted’ statuses. These confirm the data quality from the OAP environmental radiation laboratory to monitor radiation in the environment.

Rapid Method for Low Level 90Sr Determination in Seawater by Liquid Extraction Technique

Determination of low level 90Sr in seawater has been widely developed for the purpose of environmental monitoring and radiological research because 90Sr is one of the most hazardous radionuclides released from atmospheric during the testing of nuclear weapons, waste discharge from the generation nuclear energy and nuclear accident occurring at power plants. A liquid extraction technique using bis-2-etylhexyl-phosphoric acid to separate and purify yttrium followed by Cherenkov counting using a liquid scintillation counter to determine 90Y in secular equilibrium to 90Sr was developed to monitor 90Sr in the Asia Pacific Ocean. The analytical performance was validated for the accuracy, precision, and trueness criteria. Sr-90 determination in seawater using various low concentrations in a range of 0.01 – 1 Bq/L of 30 liters spiked seawater samples and 0.5 liters of IAEA-RML-2015-01 proficiency test sample was performed for statistical evaluation. The results had a relative bias in the range from 3.41% to 12.28%, which is below accepted relative bias of ± 25% and passed the criteria confirming that our analytical approach for determination of low levels of 90Sr in seawater was acceptable. Moreover, the approach is economical, non-laborious and fast.

Influence of Recycled Concrete Aggregate Content on the Rebar/Concrete Bond Properties through Pull-Out Tests and Acoustic Emission Measurements

Substituting natural aggregate with recycled aggregate coming from concrete demolition represents a promising alternative to face the issues of both the depletion of natural resources and the congestion of waste storage facilities. However, the crushing process of concrete demolition waste, currently in use to produce recycled concrete aggregate, does not allow the complete separation of natural aggregate from a variable amount of adhered mortar. Given the physicochemical characteristics of the latter, the introduction of recycled concrete aggregate into a concrete mix modifies, to a certain extent, both fresh and hardened concrete properties. As a consequence, the behavior of recycled reinforced concrete members could likely be influenced by the specificities of recycled concrete aggregates. Beyond the mechanical properties of concrete, and as a result of the composite character of reinforced concrete, the bond characteristics at the rebar/concrete interface have to be taken into account in an attempt to describe accurately the mechanical response of recycled reinforced concrete members. Hence, a comparative experimental campaign, including 16 pull-out tests, was carried out. Four concrete mixes with different recycled concrete aggregate content were tested. The main mechanical properties (compressive strength, tensile strength, Young’s modulus) of each concrete mix were measured through standard procedures. A single 14-mm-diameter ribbed rebar, representative of the diameters commonly used in the domain of civil engineering, was embedded into a 200-mm-side concrete cube. The resulting concrete cover is intended to ensure a pull-out type failure (i.e. exceedance of the rebar/concrete interface shear strength). A pull-out test carried out on the 100% recycled concrete specimen was enriched with exploratory acoustic emission measurements. Acoustic event location was performed by means of eight piezoelectric transducers distributed over the whole surface of the specimen. The resulting map was compared to existing data related to natural aggregate concrete. Damage distribution around the reinforcement and main features of the characteristic bond stress/free-end slip curve appeared to be similar to previous results obtained through comparable studies carried out on natural aggregate concrete. This seems to show that the usual bond mechanism sequence (‘chemical adhesion’, mechanical interlocking and friction) remains unchanged despite the addition of recycled concrete aggregate. However, the results also suggest that bond efficiency seems somewhat improved through the use of recycled concrete aggregate. This observation appears to be counter-intuitive with regard to the diminution of the main concrete mechanical properties with the recycled concrete aggregate content. As a consequence, the impact of recycled concrete aggregate content on bond characteristics seemingly represents an important factor which should be taken into account and likely to be further explored in order to determine flexural parameters such as deflection or crack distribution.

Automation of Web-Portal Construction Processes with SQL Server for the Black Sea Ecosystem Monitoring

The present article discusses design and development of Information System for monitoring ecology within the Black Sea basin of Georgia. Sea parameters, river, estuary, vulnerable district, water sample, etc. were considered as the major parameters of the sea ecosystem. A conceptual schema has been developed for the Black Sea ecosystem based on object-role model. The experimental database for the Black Sea ecosystem has been constructed using Ms SQL Server, while the object-role model NORMA has been developed using graphical instrument Ms Visual Studio within the integrated environment of .NET Framework 4.5. Web portal has been designed based on Ms SharePoint Server. The server database connection with web-portal has been carried out by means of External List of Ms SharePoint Server Designer.

Biological Hotspots in the Galápagos Islands: Exploring Seasonal Trends of Ocean Climate Drivers to Monitor Algal Blooms

The Galápagos Marine Reserve (GMR) is an internationally-recognized region of consistent upwelling events, high productivity, and rich biodiversity. Despite its high-nutrient, low-chlorophyll condition, the archipelago has experienced phytoplankton blooms, especially in the western section between Isabela and Fernandina Islands. However, little is known about how climate variability will affect future phytoplankton standing stock in the Galápagos, and no consistent protocols currently exist to quantify phytoplankton biomass, identify species, or monitor for potential harmful algal blooms (HABs) within the archipelago. This analysis investigates physical, chemical, and biological oceanic variables that contribute to algal blooms within the GMR, using 4 km Aqua MODIS satellite imagery and 0.125-degree wind stress data from January 2003 to December 2016. Furthermore, this study analyzes chlorophyll-a concentrations at varying spatial scales— within the greater archipelago, as well as within five smaller bioregions based on species biodiversity in the GMR. Seasonal and interannual trend analyses, correlations, and hotspot identification were performed. Results demonstrate that chlorophyll-a is expressed in two seasons throughout the year in the GMR, most frequently in September and March, with a notable hotspot in the Elizabeth Bay bioregion. Interannual chlorophyll-a trend analyses revealed highest peaks in 2003, 2007, 2013, and 2016, and variables that correlate highly with chlorophyll-a include surface temperature and particulate organic carbon. This study recommends future in situ sampling locations for phytoplankton monitoring, including the Elizabeth Bay bioregion. Conclusions from this study contribute to the knowledge of oceanic drivers that catalyze primary productivity and consequently affect species biodiversity within the GMR. Additionally, this research can inform policy and decision-making strategies for species conservation and management within bioregions of the Galápagos.

Assessment of Noise Pollution in the City of Biskra, Algeria
In this research, a quantitative assessment of the urban sound environment of the city of Biskra, Algeria, was conducted. To determine the quality of the soundscape based on in-situ measurement, using a Landtek SL5868P sound level meter in 47 points, which have been identified to represent the whole city. The result shows that the urban noise level varies from 55.3 dB to 75.8 dB during the weekdays and from 51.7 dB to 74.3 dB during the weekend. On the other hand, we can also note that 70.20% of the results of the weekday measurements and 55.30% of the results of the weekend measurements have levels of sound intensity that exceed the levels allowed by Algerian law and the recommendations of the World Health Organization. These very high urban noise levels affect the quality of life, the acoustic comfort and may even pose multiple risks to people's health.
Wireless Based System for Continuous Electrocardiography Monitoring during Surgery

This paper presents a system designed for wireless acquisition, the recording of electrocardiogram (ECG) signals and the monitoring of the heart’s health during surgery. This wireless recording system allows us to visualize and monitor the state of the heart’s health during a surgery, even if the patient is moved from the operating theater to post anesthesia care unit. The acquired signal is transmitted via a Bluetooth unit to a PC where the data are displayed, stored and processed. To test the reliability of our system, a comparison between ECG signals processed by a conventional ECG monitoring system (Datex-Ohmeda) and by our wireless system is made. The comparison is based on the shape of the ECG signal, the duration of the QRS complex, the P and T waves, as well as the position of the ST segments with respect to the isoelectric line. The proposed system is presented and discussed. The results have confirmed that the use of Bluetooth during surgery does not affect the devices used and vice versa. Pre- and post-processing steps are briefly discussed. Experimental results are also provided.

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